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Reviewed: We (Heart) Katamari
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: October 21st, 2005
Page: 2
We (Heart) Katamari is the sequel to the critically acclaimed (but not universally bought) Katamari Damacy, in which the King Of All Cosmos goes on a drunken bender, destroys all the stars in the universe, and then drops his son on Earth with orders to roll up objects with a sticky-ball called a Katamari in order to craft replacement stars. The sequel's designers took this game's entry about as seriously, right down to crafting an introduction about the fans of the game who demanded a sequel. In short, there's very little plotline, and when there is plot it's very silly, revolving around the King's fans making absurd requests of the Prince and the King duly assigning the Prince to fulfill them - but who cares, Katamari's a puzzle game about rolling stuff into a ball.

Control-wise, this one's got nothing really new on the original - roll the ball, land on things. For those who haven't played a Katamari game, the right and left thumbsticks control the motion of the right and left sides of the ball, and there's a few nifty moves such as rolling up and over obstacles (provided they're roll-able) and making a quick dash. By and large, though, the game's about strategy and memorization - accurately picking the path through each map that will supply resources to make the largest Katamari.

Added to the mix are just a few nifty options and a lot of alternate stages, expanding the goals of the game from simply making the largest katamari in a set time period to clearing out an area, fattening a sumo wrestler, or capturing the various cousins of the Prince who have wandered to Earth. Captured cousins can be switched over into gameplay, making for some extra fun in playing with the game's appearance.

While Katamari Damacy had a halfway decent two-player mode, this is one area where the game's been "improved" upon, though personal dynamics will be a factor. The controls and camera are cleaned up a bit in standard modes involving racing to make the biggest ball, which will please many players. The crazier addition is a mode in which one player controls each half of the ball, rolling the Katamari by teamwork. It's a mode that will either work well between two compatible players, force two players to work out a shorthand code for communicating which direction to travel, or possibly start a fistfight over who's screwing up the ball this time.

Still, even if you stay off the two-player mode, We (Heart) Katamari is a quirky and entertaining title, well worth picking up and possibly preferable over its predecessor. Since it's an off-beat title, try it on a rental first, just to see if it's your thing.

Added:  Friday, October 21, 2005
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
Page: 2/3

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